Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Talented Cast

Here they are folks -- my talented and gorgeous cast for the James Tolin Memorial Fund's production of Charles Busch's comic thriller Die Mommie Die!

Standing from L: D.C. Hamm, Kathy Garofano and John Devennie. Seated from L: Matty Daley, Damian Geata and Kelly Reilly.

As of today we are exactly 24 days away from Opening Night. Rehearsals are going well and most of them are almost completely off book. And there's a lot of wonderful creative energy in the room when they get going (at least until they devolve into fits of giggling over something hilarious one of them does).

But that's all part of the process: Discovering new ways to say a line; new faces to make; new poses to take or new bits of shtick to throw in. The plot (as in so many of Busch's shows) is completely ridiculous and completely hilarious. Busch's love of old movies and his ability to parody them is unparalleled and his take on the Southern Gothic genre is no exception. Honestly, who else would kill off a character with a poisoned suppository?

For me, directing a small ensemble cast is always a joy. The camaraderie that develops is like bottled magic and the performances that come out that kind of group dynamic are priceless. If you are within driving distance of Central New Jersey, you owe it to yourself to see this hilarious play (and help out more than one good cause). For tickets, visit www.kelseyatmccc.org or call the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333. For more information about The James Tolin Memorial Fund, visit www.jtmf.org.

Shameless Self Promotion # 128 is now concluded. Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense, soon.

More anon.

Bugs Bunny, This Ain't

Just for some end-of-the-month weirdness, I thought I'd share the very demented but hysterically funny short film embedded below. I actually found it last week but I have been holding onto it for just the right time. And now seems as good as any.

Carrot Vs Ninja, by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is described as "A quick tale of violence" but I promise it is so much more than that brief description lets on. This twisted little horror film is just the thing to usher in the summer.

If you've been reading me with any regularity, I know you'll love Carrot Vs Ninja as much as I do. Please enjoy (via):

Carrot vs Ninja from Cedric Nicolas-Troyan on Vimeo.

I feel I must meet this filmmaker. We probably would have lots and lots to talk about... And is it just me or does the actor playing Carrot have a Brad Pitt/Johnnie Knoxville sexy vibe going on?

More, anon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Give thanks to all the Service Men and Women who fought for my right to post what I want on this blog and your right to read and respond to it.

More, anon.

Watch It While You Can

I have not fallen victim to Stieg Larson's "Girl" trilogy (which was apparently planned to be a 10 book series before Larson died). I know lots of my coworkers at the Day Job have been passing them around or reading them on their Kindles.

Lately, I've had little time to read, though I did read while in Florida, and it was glorious to do so. I polished off "Horns," by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son) and "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith. Both were immensely entertaining, though neither was actually scary. The latter is scheduled for a 2012 film adaptation by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov. I really loved how much research went in Grahame-Smith's novel and thought he found some clever ways to incorporate actual history into his alt-history tale of vampires and how they inspired Lincoln to free the slaves. Of course, Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" is also on track for a movie version.

And last Tuesday, while waiting in the Outpatient Family Waiting Room as Mom had a minor procedure performed, I finally started King's 1084-page opus, "Under the Dome." I got through the first 60 pages or so. I certainly enjoyed what I read, but haven't had the time or opportunity to read more, since. Maybe when I go to Chicago on business at the end of July.

Every one I know who has read Larson's books says they are "...terrific, but you have to stick with it, at first." These days, I mostly just wait for the movie. And that's kind of sad. Anyway, my point is, the Red Band trailer for the U.S. remake starring Daniel Craig has been leaked onto YouTube. I don't know how long it will be there, so catch it while you can:

Umm... that was helpful in explaining what it was about...

More, anon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Quickie: The Gayest Video You'll See Today

That's former porn bear Matt Zarley floating in a pool full of CDs.

Matt's been doing more singing than boinking these days, though the video for his latest single "WTF" is probably as close to porn as one can get without actually getting down and dirty. No actual nudity, but it's definitely NSFW.

Please enjoy responsibly:

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

This week's Gayest Thing is also quite possibly the Worst Musical Ever Made.  Thanks to my dear Stephen over at Post Apocalyptic Bohemian, who posted about producer Alan Carr's (Grease) birthday yesterday, I was flooded with memories of this 1980 stinker directed by none other than Rhoda's mom and paper-towel pitchwoman, Nancy Walker.

Can't Stop the Music tells the completely fictional story of how infamous disco group Village People came to be. Starring Valerie Perrine (Lenny; Superman: The Movie), Olympian Bruce Jenner (with his original gorgeous face), Steve Guttenberg (before he beefed up for Cocoon) and the Village People as themselves. It also featured gay icons Tammy Grimes, June Havoc and Barbara Rush.

The story is preposterous (a song writer wants to create a Disco 'Super Group') and the musical numbers are just plain ridiculous. The only reason anyone saw this movie was to ogle the literally hundreds of half-naked men in pools, gyms and various dance floors, grinding away at one another without a single mention of the words "gay," "homosexual" or "fabulous." The very closeted 19 year-old me was in awe. The very openly gay me of today is  simply appalled. Just take a look at this number, called "Do the Shake:"

Giant pornstaches; belly shirts; leather vests; short-shorts; showers and locker-rooms abound, but not once is it suggested that any of these fellows might be gay. Puh-leeze!

Is it any wonder that most of the people in this movie have fallen into obscurity? Of course, reality TV has brought Jenner back into the edges of the spotlight and insanity has kept Guttenberg from falling completely out of our collective memories. Walker passed away in 1992, and while Can't Stop the Music was her only feature film, she directed several episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda" and "Alice." 

If you love bad movies, half-naked men or Disco, you must add Can't Stop the Music to your Netflix queue. I only wish the folks at MST3K had been able to take a crack at this infamously bad musical, even if it actually failed to "launch the 80's."

More, anon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ouch! (Not for the Squeamish)

Q, don't look!

My dear, sweet Q has issues with eye problems. Our mutual friends and I are always on the lookout for movies where people's eyes are gouged out, stabbed or otherwise injured, so we can warn her in advance. As far as I know, eye injuries are the only thing about which she is squeamish. Which is why I am so glad she didn't get a good look at Uncle P's right eye, last night.

Sometime during last night's rehearsal for Die Mommie Die!, something got into my eye and trapped under my contact lens, causing a rather nasty abrasion to my cornea. I drove home with K, tears and snot pouring down my face, feeling as though pins were being jabbed into the upper part of my eye the entire way. By the time I dropped her off, I just wanted to get home and remove my contacts. By the time I got home, my eye looked about ten times worse than the picture above and it was all I could to pry it open and take out my lenses. I rinsed with saline, applied a cold compress and repeated until I went to bed. Which also explains why I didn't post last night. I was just in too much pain.

I awoke this morning to a slightly less swollen, though totally crusted shut (gross, I know) eye. I washed it with warm water, followed by another cold compress, called the day job to say I'd be late and went back to bed for another two hours. 

Thankfully, eyes heal rather quickly. The pain has gone and the swelling is substantially reduced, though it still feels a bit "goocky." I wore my glasses to work today, prompting several co-workers to ask "Are those new?" I'll probably wear them again tomorrow, just in case. 

Now that I have grossed all of you out, I'll ask, "And how was your day?"

More, anon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

DMD Rehearsal Update

So, after an emergency re-casting and another actor's bout of Epstein-Barr, we've finally finished the basic blocking for Die Mommie Die! (for those unfamiliar -- 'blocking' is the actors' movement about the stage -- who walks, stands or sits and when and where they do so). For my shows the basic blocking usually doesn't change much after it's been set (unless I find that something doesn't work at all), but details can change either a little or a lot, depending on what we discover during the rest of the rehearsal process. Adding the real furniture and props can also make for some minor (and sometimes major) adjustments. Most experienced actors are used to this process and these changes prove no problem for them. One of my actors, however, is making her stage debut and just getting her used to the basics is proving challenging, though I am sure she'll be fine.

We did a little character work tonight, as well. I ask the actors questions about their characters and let them come up with their own ideas about who they are playing, gently prompting them in another direction, of need be. Of course, four of my six cast members have worked with me before. K and I have been doing theatre together since 1989, directing each other and acting together in more shows than I care to remember. And D is appearing in his 8th performance for me. I barely need to direct either of them at all. They know what I want and how to get there practically by instinct alone. And my angel Matty has already created an entire history for his character, sharing some hilarious details tonight that had all of us laughing. Then there's my "Leading Lady," who previously appeared as Steve in the JTMF production of The Most Fabulous Story... D.C. has gone all out with the character and after Fabulous, trusts me enough to give the performance we both know is needed. That leaves John and Kelly. John has tons of experience and has dived right in, fitting into the JTMF experience (truly unlike any other theatre company I have ever worked with) like he's been a part of the group from the beginning. Which leaves Kelly. A very talented young lady with plenty of camera experience, Kelly has never appeared on stage before. But her eagerness to please and learn is paying off and I have no doubts that she'll be wonderful.

Die Mommie Die! is probably one of the more outrageous shows we've ever done. It's also one of the most tech-heavy, requiring all sorts of sound and lighting effects, not to mention late-60's period costumes and a particularly tricky illusion in the second act. But I have no doubt that my very talented team is more than capable of pulling it off. They always have. 

Tickets for Die Mommie Die! are available now at www.kelseytheatre.net or on the JTMF website. If you are on the East Coast and within driving distance of central NJ, I urge not to miss what is certain to be the funniest and most outrageous show of the season. And you'll be helping to raise money for three terrific causes. 

OK - enough shameless self-promotion. Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense, soon.

More, anon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Trailer Quickie

So, there's a new trailer for Green Lantern, DC's answer to Captain America. It stars my #3 obsession* Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the first human chosen to be a protector of the Universe. Or something - Green Lantern was not one of my favorite DC characters and I actually know very little about him, other than he is one of hundreds of Green Lanterns throughout the Universe.

Reynolds is a Canadian hottie who worked his way through the Hollywood system, starting with the abysmal TV sitcom "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" which also starred the much-hotter-at-the-time Richard Ruccolo (All Over the Guy) and adorably gorgeous "Castle" and Slither star, Nathan Fillion. Sadly, Ruccolo's career seems to have stalled while Reynolds' and Fillion's  have taken stratospheric leaps.

Anyway, Green Lantern opens June 17th, the weekend before Die Mommie Die!, which means I may actually get to see it before hell week begins. Here's the newest trailer, via Yahoo!Movies:

And in case you're wondering, my top five obsessions are:

1. Jason Statham
2. Chris Evans
3. Ryan Reynolds
4. Bradley Cooper
5. John Cena (Yeah, I know...)
And a Special Mention to Nathan Fillion...

More, anon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Were You Left Behind?

Well, it's after 11:00 PM Eastern Time and I'm still here. I'm betting you are, too. Loony fundie followers of Reverend Harold Camping have been proclaiming that today was the "guaranteed" day of the Rapture. I'm hoping for Camping's donors' sake that that was a money back guarantee,

Camping has been silent all day. No surprise there. He previously predicted that the world would end in 1994. Of course, he may have been assumed to Heaven along with the 2% of the population he claimed would be taken  today. Since we just had a census here in the US last year, I guess it will be a while before we find out if there has been 2% reduction in the population. But what about that rolling earthquake Camping claimed would start in the East Pacific and make its way westward? No reports of damage have surfaced, so we must assume it was a bust, as well.

I went out at 6:00 PM EST, looking skyward, but saw no bodies floating up (unless you count my stoner neighbor who seems to float skyward around 6:00 PM every night...). No earthquakes. No interruption in electrical services. No zombies. No Rapture. What a ripoff!

Now I want to know what happens to the hundreds of folks who fell for Camping's charlatanism. Many of them quit their jobs and sold their homes. One man in NYC spent $140,000.00 - almost his total life's savings - to take out ads on buses and in NYC subway terminals, proclaiming the End was nigh. Is he embarrassed? Does he feel like a fool? I hope at the least, he'll be able to sue Camping's Family Radio (by some estimates worth $79 Million) to recoup his loss. Sadly, I heard a report about a woman who suffocated her child to spare him from the coming Tribulation... I hope that's not true.

Here's the thing - more people have been tortured and/or killed in the name of "God," than any other reason in history. The Crusades decimated millions of Muslims, Hitler killed 6 million Jews and the fanatic followers of Osama bin Laden murdered over 3000 people over the course of three hours. I have read all of the Bible; much of the Q'uran; most of the Bhagavad Gita and the writings, musings and thoughts of many religious scholars in my personal quest for spiritual enlightenment. While some of them advocate the killing of specific "sinners," not a single one of them advocates genocide. And none of them have been able to satisfactorily answer my questions on the meaning of life. Well, almost none (may be NSFW):

Still, I'm so glad we're all still around to make fun of the fine folks who still believe. And if you are a believer, don't take it personally. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

More, anon.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Well, I suppose this is my (and every other blogger's) last post. After tomorrow, there won't be any electricity to power the Internet and none of us will be able to communicate, except maybe by semaphore and/or smoke signal.

Of course, we'll all be too busy dealing with the Tribulation to really care about the Internet. Or anything else. 

So, do you think there'll be zombies? I hope so. Undoubtedly there will be looting. And lots of raping and murdering and who knows what other kinds of insanity. I know I've loaded in enough vodka and Astroglide to see me through the end of October, just in case. And I have plenty of ammo, axes, machetes and a flame-thrower for the zombies. Not that it will matter when the planet explodes in a fireball like the Death Star on October 21st.

I suppose I could just repent at the last minute and become a Christian, thus assuring my assumption into Heaven. Honestly, I'd rather just go to Heaven, the gay bar in London. That is assuming there will still be planes flying to the U.K.

Oh, and if you should get to Heaven tomorrow night, please tell my grandmother that as much as I love her, the thought of listening to stories about Bingo and how my mother ruined her plans for my father becoming a priest for all eternity is not exactly my idea of Eternal Bliss.

By the way, when nothing special happens tomorrow and Harold Camping and his followers are busy making excuses (or being completely embarrassed by having quit their jobs and given up their homes), please join in me in continuing our lives in exactly the same way as we always have. 

I will admit though, the anti-Christ does walk among us.

More certainly, anon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dress, Voice, Style, Movement...

Does anyone do drag better than RuPaul? I mean, just at her. Gorgeous, no? And Ru is not only fabulous, but hilarious. From her appearances in The Brady Bunch movies to "RuPaul's Drag Race" on Logo, Ru never lets us forget that she's in on the joke. America's most visible Gender Illusionist, Ru is without doubt the most famous drag performer in the world.

My challenge this summer is to turn a straight actor into Ru. Or a 1967 White version of Ru.

My 'Leading Lady' and I went to our costumer's warehouse last night to find pieces for him to wear in the photos for the Prologue to Die Mommie Die!, which call for him to appear in various period shots as Peter Pan, Eliza Doolittle, Marie Antoinette and various incarnations of Angela Arden, the murderous vixen he's playing in the show. The two hours or so we spent there were both productive and hilarious, especially after he donned the onesie that gave him "breasts" which helped fill out the costumes he was trying on.

Of course, the broad-shouldered actor had size issues with many of the costumes we would have liked to use, but we managed to put together quite a few pieces that work for both the photo shoot and the actual production. And our brilliant costumer has assured me that she can alter existing pieces and/or build new pieces that will work for him. She's never let me down before, so I have full confidence in her abilities to turn this into this.

Tickets for the JTMF production of Charles Busch's comic thriller Die Mommie Die! are on sale now at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey box office at 609-570-3333. 100% of our ticket sales go to The Open Arms Foundation, The James Tolin Memorial Scholarship and The Trevor Project. Proceeds from our Silent Auction - this year featuring items autographed by Cher; Elton John; Art Carney; Charles Shulz and Tim Burton - go towards the production costs of next year's benefit. If you can't attend, then please consider making a secure donation via PayPal at our website, www.jtmf.org.

Here are some excerpts from the original production starring author Charles Busch as Angela:

Die Mommie Die! runs for three performances only, June 24th, 25th & 26th at the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. We hope to see you there. It's not only the funniest show you'll see this season, but an opportunity to make a difference and help people in need.

More, anon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I was originally planning to save this post for Friday but since there's been so much buzz about it in the mainstream media, I thought I better get it in while there's still time for all y'all to read it.

89 year-old California Evangelist Harold Camping has determined that May 21st, 2011 is the 7000th Anniversary of the Great Flood; the date of the Rapture* and the beginning of the Apocalypse. And he's not alone. Camping has hundreds of followers, many of whom have given up their jobs and all their worldly possessions in order to prepare to be assumed into Heaven, prior to the Tribulation, which he claims will last until October 21st, 2011.

I'll be very amused to see what Mr. Camping has to say on May 22nd, when he and his followers (along with the rest of us), are all still here. "Oops!" seems hardly appropriate.

I may be an atheist, but I've read the Bible. And I know it says that no one can know when Judgment will be (not even Jesus, himself). So how does Camping know? He says he's done his research and that the acceptance of gays worldwide signals the End of Days. Really? It seems to me that the gradual and often painful realization that gay people are actually born gay, signals a new age of reason.

Here's the thing - There have always been gay people. There have always been fornicators and there have always religious loons who've been predicting the End of the World. Religious kooks have been predicting the End of the World for almost as long as religions have existed. Hell, Camping himself first predicted it in 1994. Of course, he now says his calculations were wrong and that he has since adjusted his math. 

I can't wait to hear what he has to say on May 22nd, when he hasn't been assumed.

Until then, please enjoy these Rapture-related videos:

More (and more I'm sure), anon.

*That's my beloved Beth Grant (of Sordid Lives and Donnie Darko) as the soon-to-be client in the "Six Feet Under" clip.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is Anyone Really Excited About This?

The trailer for Steven Spielberg's motion-capture version of the Belgian comic Tintin is out, and while I must admit that Peter Jackson's WETA studios seems to have overcome the creepy dead-eyes issue that has plagued Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture movies, I just can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for this movie.

As a kid, I knew Tintin existed because we had to read it in French class, but I couldn't really get into the series. I think I was put off my his weird pointy hair. Tintin was a young reporter, going off on adventures only Belgian kids (and Spielberg) could truly appreciate.

Tintin was joined by his fox terrier, Milou (Snowy) and a series of weird companions like Captain Haddock (sounds fishy to me)*; the hearing-impaired Professor Tournesol ("Sunflower" in French, but "Calculus" in the American versions) and opera singer Bianca Castafiore. 

The first teaser trailer has hit the web, and it looks as though Spielberg may very well have the tone that creator Herge' intended, while infusing a bit of Indiana Jones style adventure, something missing from the rather talky comics I remember reading as a young teen.  Take a look (via) and tell me what you think:

Interesting? Only time will tell.

More, anon.

*I make no apologies for that terrible joke, BTW...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eyes, Hair, Mouth, Figure...

That's the amazing and hilarious playwright/actor Charles Busch as Angela Arden in Die Mommie Die!, the play I am currently directing for the James Tolin Memorial Fund's annual AIDS benefit, June 24th - 26th. Charles is a very handsome man who knows how to wield a makeup brush (and it helps that he has great bone structure).

Thankfully, I have been able to cast an equally handsome actor with great bone structure. David previously appeared as Steve in our production of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and I am thrilled that he agreed to play the role. Still, cheekbones aside, David isn't quite the 'petite flower' that Mr. Busch is. 6' 1" tall, broad-shouldered with an athletic build and size 12 feet, costuming him is going to be a challenge, to say the least.

I've been Googling "Transvestite Supplies;" "Transvestite Clothing" and "Transvestite Shoes" with limited success. When I played Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy, our producer found a Trans Clothing store on EBay, where she was able to procure a pair of black patent pumps with 3" heels for me. I'm hoping she'll be able to do the same for him. I'm planning a trip to M*A*C counter at Macy's for cosmetics and our costumer is going to do her best to find clothes in her stock, but finding late-60's period pieces in his size is going to be a challenge, at best.

So I am turning to you, dear readers, for help. If you know of any Trans clothing suppliers in the Philadelphia/New York/New Jersey area, please let me know. I'll even give you a "Special Thanks" nod in our program. You'll be helping a great cause, too.

Here are some clips from the 2003 movie version starring Busch; Natasha Lyonne; Jason Priestley; Frances Conroy and Philip Baker Hall:

PS - 10 points if you know the reference in this post's Musical Theatre-inspired title...

More, anon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

SNL is one of those shows that can be brilliantly funny or uncomfortably stupid. It's always been that way, even during the so-called "golden age" of the late 70's. 

I must admit that through all the good and bad of SNL over the last 4 decades, I'm still a fan. From "Jane, you ignorant slut" to Ed Grimley and from "Mango" to "Two A-holes," SNL is still the only live comedy show on TV. They may be hit-or-miss, but they've always been that way. And I have to be honest, when writers Robert Smigel and Stephen Colbert first introduced The Ambiguously Gay Duo, I wasn't sure whether to be insulted or amused. But the whole thing was just so damned funny, I had to admit I wasn't insulted.

This past Saturday's show was hosted by Ed Helms, of NBC's "The Office" and The Hangover films. The show was once again hit-or-miss (mostly misses this time out, I'm afraid). But Smigel's first AGD cartoon in a long time took a hilarious turn and, thanks to a "Flesh Ray," became a live-action bit starring Jon Hamm; Jimmy Fallon; Stephen Colbert; Steve Carrell; Fred Armisen and Helms in one of SNL's funniest bits in a long time:

Honestly, if we can't laugh at ourselves, those assholes in the Tea Party will laugh at us, anyway...

More, anon.

The End of Another Era

My parents hadn't even met when the then Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite in October of 1957. The launch stunned and scared Americans, especially when it was revealed the Sputnik launch system was specifically designed to carry nuclear warheads. The launch sparked a Cold War Space Race, which was finally 'won' (in the broadest sense of the word) in July of 1969 when Apollo 11 landed safely on the Moon and Neil Armstrong uttered those now famous (though later learned to be scripted) words: "That's one small step for man... one giant leap for mankind." I had just turned 8 only a few days before (yeah, OK - do the math) and was so excited to watch those grainy images on our console TV. The Universe seemed to hold so much promise...

This coming Monday (barring any problems), the last major US space launch is scheduled to take the Space Shuttle Endeavour ([pictured, right) on its final mission. It is also the final Space Shuttle mission, ever. NASA is retiring the last Shuttle in the fleet after this mission, with no immediate plans for space exploration in the foreseeable future. This saddens me more than you can imagine.

As a fan of Science Fiction for almost as long as I can remember, the end of manned US space exploration leaves me cold. As our own planet's resources dwindle along with the Polar caps, it seems to me more important than ever to push exploration outside our own solar system in search of a planet that could sustain human life. As wrong as some novels and movies have predicted the 21st Century, others have predicted an even more dire 22nd and 23rd Centuries. And it's not that I expect to be around to see any of those potentially dreadful futures, or that I'll have any direct descendants who will, either. But as someone who considers himself a true Secular Humanist, I worry that Humanity itself is in danger of extinction, unless we find somewhere else to go.

Maybe I watched too many Gene Roddenberry shows as a kid. Or maybe I actually believe that someday, we can all agree that the preservation of the Human Race should outweigh the differences we may perceive about one another. I've always been a firm believer that Art and Science are what mark us as superior beings. I just hope we get the chance to prove that. Or maybe I'm just a crazy Pollyanna who thinks we actually deserve to survive as a race. Seeing what we've done to our own planet, I also worry about what we might do to others. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll have learned from our mistakes by then.

More, anon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bert May Be Evil, but Michael's a Moore-on

Way back in 1998, the website Bert is Evil sprung up, featuring Bert from Sesame Street PhotoShopped into various photos of evil people and events, like the one on your left. 

Bert, by the way, is a felt and foam rubber puppet and is not actually evil. But the man in the photo with him was. I'm sure there's no need to get into the details, we all know them. And we all know what happened two weeks ago, when US Navy SEALS raided bin Laden's compound in northern Pakistan.

When news of the 9/11 attacks reached the Middle East, radical Islamists took to the streets in celebration, hailing bin Laden and rejoicing in the deaths of 3000 of their fellow human beings. The attacks prompted two wars which have cost billions of dollars and over 4000 more American lives. 

Is it any wonder that not long after President Obama announced bin Laden's death, that Americans also took to the streets in celebration?

To be perfectly honest, I was conflicted. On one hand, I was very happy to hear that one of the world's most evil men no longer existed. On the other, I thought the celebration made us look just as bad as the Muslims who celebrated on that awful day in September of 2001. 

In 2004, documentarian Michael Moore released Fahrenheit 9/11, an expose on how George W. Bush supposedly used the events if 9/11/01 to mount unwarranted attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, wars that have been taking American lives for almost 10 years now. 

Moore pointed out the Bush family's oil-interests and relationships with Middle Eastern potentates; claimed that important Arabs were flown out of the US just before the attacks and that W knew well in advance but did nothing, hoping to start a war that would eventually drive up the price of oil and ensure profits for the Bush family and their cronies. I have no doubt that much of that is true. I also have no doubt that Bush used his brother to steal the election in 2000, but that's not what I'm talking about tonight.

Moore recently published his "final thoughts" on the death of bin Laden, and I have to take exception to some of what he has written, as much as it may pain this 'dyed in the wool' liberal Democrat to say so. 

Moore started his post by quoting himself:

"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in an interview last week

Really? First of all, Moore's hyperbolic numbers are just plain wrong. Tens of Millions? 6 million wasn't enough for him? He had to make it 20 Million plus? I'm not trying to diminish or dismiss the horrors of the Holocaust, here. 6 million dead is pretty damned awful. But does anyone really want to make Hitler's genocide worse than it was? Apparently, Moore does. 

He then goes on to talk about how he went to Ground Zero the night bin Laden was killed, and was appalled by the "frat-boy" atmosphere he found there. Really? After everything that's happened since 9/11, this is the thing that upsets him? The ridiculous rules imposed by TSA; the torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoners; the lack of WMDs in Iraq; the loss of 4000+ U.S. Military lives; the outrageous cost of waging 2 pointless wars; ginormous Big Oil profits; our loss of privacy and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and Moore is upset that people are celebrating the death of American Public Enemy #1? Get over yourself, already.

Here's the thing: Fueled by the hatred of Islamic extremists who burn our flags in the streets, burn our presidents in effigy and claim America is "the Great Satan," is it any wonder that Americans celebrated the way they did? Yes, times are different. But Germans didn't take to the streets of Berlin, burning the Union Jack during the blitzkrieg or declare Poland "the Great Satan" when they invaded, unlike the extremists who took to the streets on 9/11, burning the Stars and Stripes and chanting "Death to USA!"

So I must ask Mr. Moore who are the losers here? Americans rejoicing at the death of a monster who sought to destroy our country and ultimately deprive Moore of the freedom to make the kinds of documentaries the U.S. Constitution allows him to make? Or the fanatics who corrupt their own religion to justify the murder of thousands of innocents?

I'm not trying to take any sides here... I'll just quietly rejoice that an evil man has been eradicated and hope that cooler heads will prevail in the months to come. Would I have liked to see bin Laden tried? Sure. But I'm just as happy to know he's dead.

Even after all that's come to pass since 9/11/01, I will not and cannot deny the rights of Americans to celebrate as they seem fit to do. Honestly, how is this all that different from this?

More, anon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday the 13th!

"Kill, kill, kill, kill... Blood, blood, blood, blood..." Hope you stayed away from ladders, black cats and broken mirrors today! I thought I stepped on a crack, but my mother's back remains intact...

Blogger was shut down for updates all day yesterday, so I (and all the other Blogger users) didn't get to post but I have a doozy lined up for tomorrow...

More, anon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It Just Got Gayer

Look at that adorable young boy in the purple fur hat and sequined jacket. If you haven't seen it by now, CNN is circulating a clip from the game show 'To Tell the Truth,' featuring a certain gorgeous CNN anchor at age 9, pretending to be the World's Youngest Professional Bear Trainer for Circus Vargas. If you haven't seen the Silver Siren's TV debut, you can do so, below. The QT got more votes than the real kid. And can you blame the panel? Are all the Vanderbilts this adorable? Some one who has PhotoShop needs to put the purple hat on present-day Anderson. I mean, the white hair is entirely part of Coop's charm, but the purple with those blue eyes... sigh... Here's the clip (via):

Not to be outdone, The Daily Show's John Stewart had another hilarious and insightful LGBT story last night. Attacking homophobia from all sides, while earning every giggle he could wring out of the bit, Stewart once again proves that walking the line on the side of right can be very funny. Especially when the opposing side is made up of  idiots. Also via, here's the clip:

Unfortunately, there will always be ignorant, fearful bigots. If they haven't gone away by the 21st Century, they're not going away any time, soon. Hell, we can't get rid of the White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis. We're supposed to get them to accept anything other than straight WASPs?  Happily, their numbers are dwindling.  The changes in attitude towards gay people in my lifetime are simply astonishing to me. But we still have  along way to go. And while I'd like  to see full equality in America in my lifetime, I don't have the highest of hopes of ding so. Thankfully, the next generation seems to get it

More, anon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week (NSFW Version)

John Stewart served me many drinks in the early 80's. He was a bartender at a local progressive dance club in Trenton, NJ. City Gardens was a dump - a converted warehouse, it had a stage and a dance floor with tables, bleachers and a large bar in the front room and more tables, booths and smaller bar in the back.  There were holes in the floors and heaven help you if you had to use the toilet for anything couldn't be done while standing.

I heard every great alternative dance song of the era at City Gardens on 90 Cents Thursdays - 90 cents to get in and 90 cent well drinks. The place was usually packed with an assortment of punks and new wavers and downright weirdos. People watching was half the fun. My friends and I would drink all night (the drinks were watered, of course), but dance so much we never felt it. I also saw some of the 80's biggest names in alternative music there: Sinead O'Connor (in an amazing performance on her first trip to America to promote her first album); Devo (ask me about Q and the vampires some day); The Ramones and The Dead Kennedys, among others. Man, I wish had half the energy now that I had back then...

"And just how is any of that gay?" you may well  ask yourself. Well, it was the 80's... there was a lot of that going around.  But everyone was terrified to have sex (don't worry, we got over it). And now that Stewart is a star and host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, he knows how important it is for middle America to show some love our way. Stewart is and always has been pro equality. But the smirking little scamp can't help himself sometimes, and its his job to point out the silly and absurd, sniggering all the way to the bank (and deservedly so). Thankfully, Stewart and his writers are never really mean to the folks they're poking fun at. And that's why I love this possibly NSFW clip from the other night (via):

The Daily Show is clearly comedy with a liberal slant, but they're equal opportunity offenders and no group goes unjabbed. Of course, they jab some more than others,  also deservedly so. I wish I got to see it more often but I would need a 28 hour day, and 24 is enough...

More, anon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

DVD Review: "Blood Creek"

While we had every intention of seeing Thor this past weekend, D and I postponed seeing because a mutual friend was 'unavailable.' Rather than give up spending time together, we decided to spend the evening in with another friend Ritchie, watching films from D's truly vast collection. We watched one movie none of us had seen, and another which only D and myself had seen.

The one none of us had seen was Joel "Batsuit Nipples" Schumacher's 2009 Nazi Sorcerer/Zombie/Vampire/Torture Porn mash-up from writer David Kajganich (The Invasion - pee-yew! - and the scheduled remake of Pet Sematary), Blood Creek. Uncle P has been reading plenty of good and bad things about this movie for a while, and I have to concur. There is plenty of good and bad about it.

The first 15 minutes or so are set in 1936, and filmed in black and white. We meet the Wollners, German immigrants who have settled into farm life in rural West Virginia. Despite Mama's reservations, Papa Wollner jumps at the chance to house a Third Reich scholar (Michael Fassbinder) in exchange for as many marks as the Fuhrer will pay. The guest -- Herr Wirth -- is creepy, to say the least, able to whisper a few ancient syllables in order to bring a bird back to life...

Quickly jumping forward to the present, we meet Evan Marshall (Superman in pre-production, Henry Cavill). Evan's war-hero bother Victor ("Prison Break" alum Dominic Purcell) has been missing for the past two years. Evan's aging father blames him for Victor's disappearance and Evan's guilt is eating him alive. But one night, Victor - filthy, ragged and unshaven - appears in Evan's bedroom, appealing for his help, but warning him that "what happens will change everything, forever." Filial love endures and as Victor showers and shaves, Evan prepares guns, ammo and a boat. Victor leads Evan to the last place he was seen and they set off downstream to a remote compound -- the Wollner farm. Turns out, the barn's foundation was made using a Norwegian rune stone from which Wirth draws power which renders him and the Wollners immortal. Apparently, this is accomplished through ritual blood-letting, explaining the disappearances of several young men in the region over the years. Victor's path for vengeance fuels the slim, but original premise. 

The biggest problem with Blood Creek is that it doesn't really know what kind of movie it wants to be. Is Wirth a zombie, a sorcerer or a vampire? Or all three? Or something else altogether? We're never sure, because the movie never takes the time to tell us. Borrowing from a hundred genre movies including the Indiana Jones trilogy; Sleepy Hollow; The Keep; The Village and any number of better or worse movies, Blood Creek is one of those rare movies that suffers from over-thinking, rather than under-thinking. If nothing else, I must admire Schumacher, who at age 70 has made an almost original Horror movie that almost succeeds as much it fails. He may have put nipples on the Batsuit, but Schumacher remains unafraid to take cinematic chances:

Entertaining, but ultimately silly (we were shouting out MST3K lines well before the halfway mark), Blood Creek at least features some eye-candy from both Purcell and Cavill, though I must admit that I'm not still sold on the young Brit as Kal-El, just yet. It seems to me that everyone involved just tried too hard and the result ended up being somewhere in-between Warlock, Ded Sno and Hostel.  Sadly, Schumacher hides his most talented actor under CGI vestments and bad makeup FX, while ignoring sensible plot points and coherent motivations.  *(One out of Four Stars)

After that, we watched Tobe Hooper's celluloid version of my worst nightmare, The Texas ChainsawMassacre 2, starring Dennis Hopper. Ritchie spent much of this film with her face buried in her arms, which pleased D and I to no end. Sadistic, ain't we?

More, anon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

Shhh! That's a picture of Uncle P's real-life Mom. She'd kill me if she knew I had posted it. This was about two years ago in the Lorikeet exhibit at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, sometime during the week before Mothers' Day.  My sister, the BIL and myself had our portraits taken for her that year. She cried. I'm guessing from the giant sunglasses, that she was traveling incognito for some reason.

Mom may be getting on in years, but she can be pretty amusing when she wants to be and even more so, unintentionally. She's the Queen of Mispronunciation and Spoonerisms. A few years ago while watching "America's Test Kitchen" on PBS, she malaproped the title as "Test Chicken," which it remains to this day. Mom has always had atrocious hand-writing; can't spell to save her life and pig-headedly refuses to believe that she is losing her hearing.

Mom changed our diapers; kissed our boo-boos; got down on the floor to play with us. Mom taught us to read at 4 (and got in trouble with both 1st grade teachers for doing so). She fought for us when she needed to and punished us when we were wrong. She told us to never say "can't" and taught us to never be afraid to voice our opinions (Hmmm - who'd have ever guessed that?). She refuses to acknowledge the existence of passive aggression ("That doesn't even make sense. How can that be a real thing?"), but she sure has the practice of using it down to a T. And of course, no one knows how to push buttons like our mothers. You can be married for 30 years and your partner will never be able to make you as crazy as your mother can (or get there in less time).

Oh, please don't get me wrong. I really love my mother. And my sister and I know both know she loves us. She's often told us that growing up, she only ever wanted to a be mother. She also says my sister and I are the best things to happen to her in her life, and that we're only good thing to come out of her 27-year marriage to a bitter jackass. And I know she only stuck it out for my sister and I. Because that's what moms do. Everything is centered forever and ever around the needs, wants and hopes of their children and they'll do whatever it takes to see that they get them.

Truth be told, my mom is pretty terrific. And if your mom is /was 1/10th as terrific as mine, you're a pretty danged lucky person! I mean, we all can't be raised by movie stars:

...or Warrior Queens:

...or Women of Faith:

I hope all of you appreciate your mom just a little more, after that..

Love you, Mom!

More, anon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

King of the Jungle

Not that I ever want Caliban's Revenge to be about the same things over and over, but it's not nearly about hot men enough for my tastes. Combine hot men and movies... well. A little gratuitous skin in the guise of a semi-serious discussion about movies, anyone? I'm in.
With the upcoming John Carter of Mars and the return of Conan, I thought it may well be time to resurrect yet another classic character, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes. The last serious attempt was Greystoke, starring Christopher Lambert and Andie McDowell in her film premiere; a performance so incomprehensible that Glen Close was brought in to dub every single line of her dialog.

Of course, Tarzan movies have been around almost as long as the character has. 1918 Tarzan made his film debut with Elmo Lincoln in the title role. In the 1930's and 40's Tarzan was played on screen by several actors, including Buster Crabbe; Bruce Bennett and Glenn Morris. But it's Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller who is most associated with the character, having played Tarzan in 12 films from 1932 to 1964. 

After Weissmuller came Lex Barker; Gordon Scott; Mike Henry; and Jock Mahoney, among others. While all of them were able to pull of the loincloth, not all of them were really right for the character who in Burroughs' books is a British royal raised by apes. These actors could n't be more American-looking if they tried. But the best example of this is from the 52 episodes of the 1966 - 1968 NBC Series "Tarzan," which starred the the whitest-looking actor they could find in Ron Ely. The preppy-looking Ely was as ridiculous as the show's premise in which Lord Greystoke has tired of his educated life and returned to protect the jungle home in which he was raised. This Tarzan mostly fought poachers, if I remember correctly. If he did fight an animal, it was only to save a fellow human being. There were quite a few Tarzans between then and director John Derek's 1981 stinker starring O'Keefe and Jonathan Harris, which which simply a super softcore showcase for the then superstar wife, Bo Derek (10).

You gotta love a movie that isn't afraid to have soaking wet Bo Derek utter lines like "I'm still a virgin..." while coyly munching a banana with a half-naked savage in the middle of a waterfall pool.

Joe Lara took on the role for a CBS TV movie in 1989 and an unrelated syndicated series, "Tarzan: The Epic Adventures," which ran for one season.

1998 saw Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) once again attempt to prove he's not as dumb as looks in 1998's Tarzan and the Lost City. Dreadful doesn't even begin to describe this completely inept movie. 

Then 1999 saw the House of Mouse's take on the property with an animated musical version featuring songs by Phil Collins -- who, (IMHO) completely ruined Genesis - but that's a discussion for another topic.  

And even though Tarzan wasn't one of their biggest hits, Disney tried to recreate their previous Broadway successes with a stage version starring Josh Strickland (pictured at the top of this post). The show ran for 14 months, despite complaints from patrons who paid top dollar for orchestra seating, half of which had exceptionally obstructed views for a full third of the first act. It may not have had the technical difficulties of a certain Superhero musical currently struggling on Broadway, but it was Disney's first Broadway flop after monster hits with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King

In 2003, the WB tried to resurrect the character again in their own series. It starred Travis Fimmel and lasted all of 8 episodes.

You can see a fairly comprehensive list of actors who have played Tarzan on film and television here.

So Uncle P was thinking maybe it's time to reboot the character again, but return to the source material. An iconic character deserves a good modern version, set in the correct period with reverence to the source. Burroughs' prolific output provides material for a long-running franchise, if it's done right. And a lot of that has to do with casting. 

With that in mind, I'm going to offer up a few choices for who might make a good Tarzan in a reboot and ask you to tell me who you think would be the perfect Tarzan.

Who Shouold Play Tarzan in a Modern Reboot?

Create an online survey quiz or web poll
Taylor Kitsch0%
Jason Mamoa0%
Travis Fimmel0%
Josh Strickland0%
Josh Halloway0%
Chris Hemsworth0%
Taylor Lautner0%
Other: (Please specify)0%
Create an online survey quiz or web poll

I can't wait to see the results!

More, anon.